After yet more torrential rain (when will it ever end?) the match was again switched to the pond. With non stop rain and heavy winds forecast there were only seven hardy souls willing to brave the elements, make that six as Neil Dring didn't fancy the pond and decided a day in to watch his beloved Spurs take on West Ham was more preferable. As it was the penultimate match in the Crown league I was praying for a good draw, I fancied pegs one to three in the trees but drew peg six at the opposite end! It's a peg I've never fished and to be honest hasn't got a lot of form.
As always the anglers were split into two sections and my closest rival in the league, Martin Heard, was in the other section on peg two. Barney Crockett who was lying in third place wasn't well and couldn't fish today so it's now just between me and Martin. Get well soon Barn. I basically just needed to catch a fish which would be worth three points, although I only had a two point buffer over Martin. We had hopefully chosen six pegs which would afford us as much shelter from the wind as possible and decided on five hours instead of the usual five and a half.
I got to the pond and started setting up in the rain, as we didn't have long before the whistle I quickly mixed up some groundbait and set up my usual 0.4 gram rig with 0.12 mm bottom and size 18 B611. I could see the other anglers putting brollies up but to me they are more of a hinderance so I prepared to batten down the hatches. The wind was already gusty so I decided to fish at 10 metres instead of the usual 11.5 so I could hopefully control the pole a little better.
On the whistle I cupped out three balls, baited up with two red maggots and shipped out, the rig didn't settle properly and a tiny perch was the result, I had secured at least three points. Two more in quick succession settled the nerves somewhat. Then I couldn't get a bite although the wind was terrible and was blowing the pole all over the place making presentation nigh on impossible. From what I could see not a lot was happening although Digger on peg three had netted a couple of fish and Graham Field next to me was getting the odd small perch.
After an hour I hadn't added to my three perch and fishing at ten metres was a waste of time due to the wind. With at least three points secured I decided to fish shorter, I plumbed up at six metres, shortened the rig and balled in four balls of groundbait. Leaving that to settle I had a much needed cup of coffee and a sandwich. Even at this shorter length the pole was being blown all over the place and I was now pretty wet. After about ten minutes the float sailed away and I netted my first roach, a fish of around four ounces and very welcome! I then started to catch small perch quite regularly, once again I kept trying to catch on the caster but they weren't having it although I did catch another smaller roach but it was no bigger than the perch.
I was now absolutely soaked and my Drennan Drenchwear was living up to it's name as I was, indeed, drenched. I looked up to see Graham net what looked like a good perch although the other angler in my section, John Coxon, didn't seem to be doing a lot and his brolly got obliterated by the wind. With about an hour to go I was on 30 fish for around a pound or so and went for a quick walk to see what was going on. Digger on peg three said he'd had three roach and a few perch and that Martin hadn't had much either.
I went back to my peg with renewed vigor and fishing the maggot started to catch small perch quite quickly, I even had another small roach and in the last half an hour I had twenty four fish to take my tally to fifty four for around two pound or so. Once again I was kicking myself for trying to sort out better fish with the caster when I should have got my head down for the 'bits', I reckon I could have down over three pounds of them. Will I ever learn? and I hoped it wasn't going to cost me.
I packed up in record time and took some of my soaked kit back to the car, Digger walked up with the scales and asked if I had a pound, I said yes and he said I'd done him then, which suprised me. I weighed 2lb 8oz which was more than I thought, Graham weighed 3lb 6oz and I really should have been close to that. John only had a few ounces and Digger hadn't been lying and weighed exactely a pound. Martin had also struggled and weighed 8oz. Graham won and I was second and picked up £28, I was also second in my section as was Martin in his, so he remains two points behind with one match to go.
Robin said we would fish Ilminster canal for the last match in two weeks time, it's a hard venue but fair so I just need to avoid the dreaded blank. Also next week is the last match in the Hollowlegs league and a section win could give me an outside chance of sneaking into third place, we will see.
Crown league after ten matches, dropping your two worst results,
Jamie Rich - 11 points
Martin Heard - 13 points
Barney Crocket - 15 points
P.S. when I got home and stripped off (not a pretty sight I can assure you!), even my pants were wet!!!!